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The tyranny of choice...


For someone who seems to offer people a lot of flavors and options in products, I am, surprisingly, not a big fan of choices. It can be paralyzing. Working in the digital domain is one such example, where when you've done this sort of thing for several decades as I have, then by that time you've amassed a collection of plug-ins and digtial options to process sound that it almost becomes a task unto itself... choosing the right model processor as much as where to set the dials once you do. Having an analog desk where every channel had the same dynamics and EQ might save a lot of time, and might even give a mix a more distinguishable character.


I can remember the first time I got hold of the Axe FX Ultra guitar processor by Fractal Audio. I was amazed at the options. That you could go in and adjust the capacitance of the guitar cable input, the resonant frequency of a transformer, the temperature of a voice coil... 7 hours later when you've finally saved that 'dream' guitar tone, you also tend to think more fondly of just having an amp, maybe 2, and a half dozen knobs on that amp, and that you'might have gotten your guitar tracks done 6 hours ago.


Let's talk about some things that are elegantly simple and, accordingly, how much I love them. Barefoot Monitors. You get a system like the MM26 or MM27s and look on the back. Basically nothing. power in, audio in, power switch, selection for digital or analog input, selection for left or right (digital input), set the gain to unity, set the subwoofer to unity, and you're done. If I had external subwoofers I would probably never be finished time aligning, phase aligning, HPF/LPF aligning, and level-matching those things to the mains. With an all integrated system, you know that someone with more intimate knowledge than yourself has already done this work and you can simply turn them on and get on with your life. If they don't sound right, your room needs work. If you put them too close to the wall, how about not doing that. I'd take that simplicity any day over monitors where there are six knobs to adjust on the back. No thanks. instant turn-off.


It's hard to reconcile those ideals with the fact that I make two different flavors of reamps with conflicting thoughts about which one is better for which application, and that I have like literally 8 different versions of the U47/U48 going on. It's hard for me to not want to make these options available when I know that I can, even if it confuses the hell out of folks (and out of me, even sometimes). I am sometimes envious sometimes when I see, for instance, Telefunken and their Diamond Series U47. One way, their way. They have gone through, one assumes, and determined the best way to put this thing together and that's that. Simple. Elegant. I may not like their pricing structure (simply impossible for mere mortals to afford or to justify), but certainly the simplicity of buying one.


I am going to try to figure out a way to consolidate my 47's and 48's down to just 2 sku's (47 and 48), and have the headbasket options and capsule options become drop-down menu items. Hopefully this does not confuse the heck out of people; but we'll see. As we are about to finally start offering a selection of different capsules to choose from (yes, more choices, hooray!), I just can't bear the idea of now having 20 different U47's for sale on the site. LOL


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